Research shows that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for infants and mothers, as well as potential economic and environmental benefits for communities.
Breastfeeding provides essential nutrition. Among its other known health benefits are some protection against common childhood infections and better survival during a baby's first year, including a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.1
Research also shows that very early skin-to-skin contact and suckling may have physical and emotional benefits.2
Other studies suggest that breastfeeding may reduce the risk for certain allergic diseases, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. It also may help improve an infant's cognitive development. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
For more specific information about the health benefits of breastfeeding, visit one of the following resources:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Info for health care providers:
- Info for non-health care providers
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- HHS Office of Women's Health: Why Breastfeeding Is Important
- UNICEF: Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding
- U.S. Surgeon General
- World Health Organization: Breastfeeding
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 129(3), e827–e841. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full.pdf+html
- Feldman-Winter, L., & Goldsmith, J. P.; Committee on Fetus and Newborn, Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2016). Safe sleep and skin-to-skin care in the neonatal period for healthy term newborns. Pediatrics, 138(3), e20161889. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/08/18/peds.2016-1889